The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Robbed

    5
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Giardia

    8
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Burns

    4
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Falls

    12
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Malaria

    5
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Beaten

    3
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Groped

    2
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3